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Risk taking for potential losses but not gains increases with time of day

Bedder, RL; Vaghi, MM; Dolan, RJ; Rutledge, RB; (2023) Risk taking for potential losses but not gains increases with time of day. Scientific Reports , 13 , Article 5534. 10.1038/s41598-023-31738-x. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans exhibit distinct risk preferences when facing choices involving potential gains and losses. These preferences are believed to be subject to neuromodulatory influence, particularly from dopamine and serotonin. As neuromodulators manifest circadian rhythms, this suggests decision making under risk might be affected by time of day. Here, in a large subject sample collected using a smartphone application, we found that risky options with potential losses were increasingly chosen over the course of the day. We observed this result in both a within-subjects design (N = 2599) comparing risky options chosen earlier and later in the day in the same individuals, and in a between-subjects design (N = 26,720) showing our effect generalizes across ages and genders. Using computational modelling, we show this diurnal change in risk preference reflects a decrease in sensitivity to increasing losses, but no change was observed in the relative impacts of gains and losses on choice (i.e., loss aversion). Thus, our findings reveal a striking diurnal modulation in human decision making, a pattern with potential importance for real-life decisions that include voting, medical decisions, and financial investments.

Type: Article
Title: Risk taking for potential losses but not gains increases with time of day
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-31738-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-31738-x
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Humans, Male, Female, Decision Making, Risk-Taking, Dopamine, Investments, Computer Simulation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168906
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